5 Reasons Kansas Will Hold on to Win Big 12 Conference Title
The Kansas Jayhawks are coming off a big overtime win at Oklahoma State on Wednesday and a blowout win at home against TCU on Saturday.
The Jayhawks have been on a roll and are now in good position to win the Big 12 Conference regular-season title for the ninth straight season in a row.
They are tied with Kansas State atop the Big 12 standings, but hold the tiebreaker over the Wildcats, because they defeated them in both meetings this season.
We'll find out very soon.
Here are five reasons why Kansas will hold on to win the Big 12 Conference title:
1. Scoring from Freshman Sensation Ben McLemore
Freshman guard Ben McLemore
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Freshman guard Ben McLemore has been the best player for the Jayhawks this season and one of this year's top freshman.
McLemore can make the big shots when the game is on the line, as well as rebound.
He has all the mechanics to be a great player at the next level and will be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
McLemore only put a combined total of 21 points up against Oklahoma State and TCU this past week, but had his biggest game of the season when the Jayhawks needed him most against Kansas State on Feb. 11.
This was the game after they had dropped their three straight games.
McLemore scored an astounding 30 points on the Wildcats. He also recorded seven rebounds and three steals. His scoring spree helped take down Kansas State and his performance from that game could be the reason why Kansas wins another Big 12 regular-season title.
The stats McLemore has put up this season have been more than impressive. He is shooting 49.7 from the field and 42.6 from beyond the arc.
McLemore is also averaging 16.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Watch for McLemore to continue to make a big impact for the Jayhawks as the regular season winds down. He could be the player that gets this team in a position to make the Final Four.
2. Strong Play on the Boards from Jeff Withey
Kansas senior center Jeff Withey against TCU.
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The senior leadership of Jeff Withey has played a big part in why this team is dangerous.
Withey is a force to be reckoned with on the boards and can score a lot of points on second-chance opportunities.
He is the player that every opponent has trouble containing for an entire game, because of how physical he is in the paint.
Withey is averaging 13.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this season.
Since Kansas lost their three games against Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma, he has taken his game to a new level.
In the Jayhawks last four games, Withey has averaged 16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds.
He presents problems for defenses and makes game-changing shots and dunks that motivate this Jayhawk squad.
With Withey on fire right now, there is no doubt that Kansas doesn't take another Big 12 regular-season title.
3. The Jayhawk Backcourt
Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson. Photo by Nick Krug.
Ben McLemore, as mentioned earlier, is the most talented player on this Jayhawk squad leading his team in scoring with 438 points.
McLemore is what makes the offense go, but Releford and Johnson are also players that make a difference in this team's success.
Travis Releford has been averaging 12.2 points per game this season, but like Jeff Withey, has stepped his game up since losing three-straight earlier this month.
In the Jayhawks past four games, he has averaged 13.8 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Releford's clutch play against Oklahoma State in the second overtime was what won the Jayhawks the game. He kept the ball in bounds to run the clock out giving Kansas an important 68-67 road win.
Elijah Johnson has also contributed to the Jayhawk's success this season at the point guard position. He has been consistent averaging 9.1 points per game and 4.4 assists per game.
Johnson is by far one of the most talented players on this Jayhawk squad and is going to have to make sure he continues to be productive down the stretch.
With a solid backcourt, the Jayhawks will take the Big 12 regular-season title.
4. Bill Self's Track Record
Kansas head coach Bill Self.
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In Bill Self's 10th season with the Kansas Jayhawks, he continues to be one of the elite coaches in college basketball.
With Kansas, he's only had one team finish second in the Big 12. That was his first season in 2003-2004.
When the Jayhawks went on their three-game skid in early February, it was surprising to see, but there was no way this talented Jayhawk team was laying down and dying.
Self knows how to motivate his players and is a coach who can get his team to step up and play at the next level.
He has taken Kansas teams that are not as talented as this one deep into the NCAA Tournament. There is no telling of what he will manage to accomplish this season.
Self took the Jayhawks to the Final Four last season and ended up losing to a very talented Kentucky team in the championship game.
There is no reason why Self cannot lead this surging Jayhawk squad to another Big 12 regular-season title, as well as a Final Four.
He has his team playing well again, and they will be a dangerous team come tournament time in March.
5. Gaining Momentum
Kansas players: Travis Releford, Jeff Withey, Ben McLemore (23) and Kevin Young (40).
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The Jayhawks are currently on a four-game winning streak.
Kansas came off their three-game losing streak and shredded Kansas State and Texas apart at Allen Fieldhouse by winning by 21 and 26 points.
A huge double-overtime victory at Oklahoma State showed the Jayhawks can play in pressure situations, and they followed up that crucial win by getting revenge and blowing out TCU at home 74-48.
The Jayhawks are rolling right now, but will have a tough game at Iowa State on Monday night. The Cyclones almost defeated the Jayhawks earlier this season at Allen Fieldhouse, but ended up losing in overtime 97-89.
The Cyclones are looking for revenge and are currently on a 22-home game winning streak at Hilton Coliseum. This will be the toughest game Kansas has left on their regular season schedule.
Baylor has lost six of their last eight games and will most likely miss the NCAA Tournament this season.
The Jayhawks are playing well and have a manageable schedule for the rest of the regular season. They will, as usual, find a way to win the Big 12 and earn their ninth-straight regular-season title.